The year 2020 saw a lot of unexpected food trends: the rise of the bean, so many pastas and readers flocking to home cooking. These are our top 20 recipes by traffic, the recipes that readers came back to time and time again.
(View our complete collections of Our 50 Most Popular Recipes of 2020, Our 50 Most Popular Vegetarian Recipes of 2020, Our 50 Most Popular Desserts of 2020, and the 50 Recipes Our Readers Loved Most in 2020.)
An entire tube of tomato paste and a whole tin of anchovy fillets play support to a half-dozen caramelized shallots in this rich pasta from Alison Roman. Double the sauce, and keep it around for weeks to come.
Ravneet Gill’s supersmart recipe omits expensive vanilla extract, but still yields incredible flavor. Don’t skip the overnight chill, or rolling the dough balls before chilling. It’s that attention to detail that truly makes them an exemplary cookie.
Recipe: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe, from Ali Slagle, takes the best parts of sour cream and onion dip and applies them to … a weeknight chicken dish. The result is a tender (yes, tender!) chicken breast with a crisp exterior and the flavors of sour cream and onion dip. You’re welcome.
It turns out feta becomes goat-cheese creamy in the oven. That creaminess plays against tart tomatoes, earthy broccolini and bright lemon in this weeknight dinner from Yasmin Fahr, ready in less than 30 minutes. Play with it as you like, swapping out the vegetables depending on season.
Forget the beans. This may have been the year of the boneless, skinless chicken breast on NYT Cooking. Ali Slagle’s take uses mayonnaise as a marinade, to yield a particularly moist result, while the ginger and lime give the chicken big flavor. But best of all? It’s ready in 15 minutes.
Recipe: Ginger-Lime Chicken
Every bite of this dish is packed with salty, briny flavors and caramelized cauliflower. It’s a small main, or a satisfying side dish that you can also make vegetarian: Just leave out the pancetta.
Beans had a huge moment in 2020, and this recipe from Alison Roman was no exception. This flexible stew is wildly adaptable: It plays well with broccoli rabe or kale, just about any kind of white beans or salty cheese.
This vegetarian take on the French classic is full of deep flavor, and comforting as can be. A mix of mushrooms is best, and as Melissa Clark notes, don’t skip caramelizing everything first. Take a cue from the readers who’ve made it and serve it over mashed potatoes, grits or a hearty polenta.
Recipe: Mushroom Bourguignon
Another flexible stew, this recipe from Colu Henry is surprisingly rich while still being vegan. Use butter beans or cannellini, cherry tomatoes or grape, add greens or don’t. And, if you prefer (and don’t mind making the dish vegetarian, not vegan), finish it with a very welcome sprinkle of cheese.
Yewande Komolafe has a way with tofu. This take on it is pan-seared, and paired with a warming reduction of ginger and coconut milk. The blistered snap peas are a bright counter, but, as Yewande notes, any fresh green moment (snow peas, broccoli, asparagus) works.
Juicy heirloom tomatoes are best on their own, but this tart from Vallery Lomas may just be the next best thing. The tomatoes are nestled in an herbaceous custard, then baked off. To cut the prep time, use a premade crust.
Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Tart
Melissa Clark developed this recipe for Rosh Hashana, but it fits the bill for just about any night. The sweetness of the plums complements the rich, meaty chicken thighs and sharp bite of the red onions. Marinating helps here, so start it the night before. But, after that, this simple, satisfying meal is ready in an hour, max.
This one-bowl loaf from Yossy Arefi is just the thing when you’re craving carrot cake, but don’t want to go through a big production to get there. (No mixer!) It’s an ideal afternoon snack, and the lemon glaze is an unexpected alternative to cream cheese frosting.
After Samin Nosrat’s recipe was published on NYT Cooking, reports of runs on buttermilk started coming in. That’s how popular it was. Out of buttermilk? Samin suggests plain yogurt or kefir as substitutes. The result is a burnished bird with tender meat.
Recipe: Buttermilk-Brined Roast Turkey
Inspired by Indian dal, this meatless meal from Lidey Heuck is great for lunch or dinner, and great for freezing. Thai spices, like fresh ginger, turmeric and coconut milk, infuse the red lentils, brightening them. Skip the toasted coconut, if you like, but it adds a nice crunch at the end.
18. Cheesy Pan Pizza
Jerrelle Guy’s simple-as-can-be dessert is just the thing when you want something warm, gooey and sweet without a lot of effort. Feel free to swap out the strawberries for any berry you have on hand — frozen or fresh. Some readers have even used stone fruit. They all play well against the cakey filling that’s sweetened with brown sugar.
Recipe: Strawberry Spoon Cake
The dough for these scones, from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery & Cafe, benefit from a bit of a rest. Prepare them a day in advance, then bake them off in the morning, for a tender, flaky treat full of fresh blueberries and finished with a maple glaze.
This vegetarian option, which Alexa Weibel brought to The Times from Brooks Headley of Superiority Burger, relies on extra-firm tofu that’s marinated in pickle brine, then deep fried. The result is transcendent and an ideal meatless alternative to a fried chicken sandwich.